Not a bad video, and actually quite convincing. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something distinctly District 9-y about it. And wouldn’t you know it, I was right! The video’s director, Neill Blomkamp, was actually the man who gave Peter Jackson the concept for his 2009 movie District 9. Apparently, that film was based on Blomkamp’s earlier short film Alive in Joburg, which featured seamless blending of GGI with lo-fi documentary style shots. To anyone who has seen D9, this ought to sound familiar. The entire movie was shot in documetary style fashion, everything was made to look as real and gritty as possible, and the CGI blending was quite good! Unlike some other movies I could mention, here were visual effects that actually looked pretty real.
And as it turns out, this faux documentary piece about the Tetra Vaal corporation and the development of Artificial Intelligence Defense unit (A.I.D.) was one of the things that brought the Blomkamp to Jackson’s attention in the first place. Shot entirely with camcorders in the streets of Johannesburg’s poorer districts, Blomkamp and his team then added state of the art CGI to several scenes to simulate the robot and even used an animatronic stand-in for non-action shots for some added realism. Mock interviews completed the film, making it look and feel like it really was a documentary about a corporate concept.
Too bad too, I was hoping this was the real deal. And I’m sure some people still think it is, years later. But as they say, if it seems too cool to be true, probably is!